Hildebrand was pushed: report

Hildebrand was pushed: report
Swiss National Bank

The resignation of Swiss central bank chief Philipp Hildebrand came at the urging of the eleven-member Bank Council, newspaper Blick reports.

Citing three independent sources, the paper said the council threatened to resign en masse if Hildebrand did not agree to step down over a currency scandal that erupted in the wake of his wife’s massive dollar transactions last summer.

Hildebrand told a news conference on Monday that his resignation would take effect immediately. He explained he could not provide conclusive evidence that he had been unaware of his wife’s transactions.

The council said on Monday it had “taken note” of Hildebrand’s resignation and “accepted” his decision.

But according to Blick, there was nothing voluntary about Hildebrand’s decision. In a weekend characterized by tension and power struggles, Hildebrand reiterated his reluctance to leave his post, the paper said.

The council reacted by taking the highly unusual step of threatening a mass resignation if Hildebrand refused to retreat of his own accord, Blick said, citing unnamed sources.

Hildebrand’s colleagues lent their support to the embattled central banker as the scandal gained momentum last week.

However, the council is believed to have reconsidered its position after viewing an email exchange between Hildebrand, his wife and their Sarasin bank client advisor Felix Scheuber.

The emails, released by the SNB on Monday, showed the central banker had been involved in discussions about a dollar trade but left it unclear whether he had approved it.